Two men, a small drone and a GoPro camera gave us awe-inspiring images of a volcanic eruption in Iceland that started in September.
Eric Cheng, director of aerial imaging for drone maker DJI, joined photographer Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson, who had proper permits to get close to the volcano. The two got as close as they could to the eruption site.
Cheng launched his quadcopter in the air toward the volcano and used a wireless video transmission system to see through the camera on his drone. He was recording the footage so he would have still have video even if his drone did not make it back in one piece.
However, as Wired reported, Cheng wanted to get closer, but was not permitted to walk any further.
According to Cheng, “One of the policemen came over to us and said, ‘We checked the rules, and vehicles can’t drive closer. However, you could theoretically walk closer. I have to inform you that we officially do not recommend this, because it’s dangerous.'”
However, Cheng decided to disobey and stashed his drone in a backpack then hiked another kilometer, all in his boots and gas mask. He then flew to the edge of the eruption and got some shots after the sun was going down, although he lost video signal and control every time.
Cheng believes static electricity from the ash from amount the eruption or an electrical charge in the lava interfered with the radio signals. During his last flight, his wireless video signal went out completely,but he was able to revive it by triggering the drone’s failsafe mode. Cheng also discovered that his camera had malfunctioned and the front was melted, but the memory card and footage were thankfully intact.
Scientists believe the eruption could last for another year and that if activity continues under the ice, it could be catastrophic, according to the Institute of Earth Sciences.